The Do’s and Don’ts of Storing Valuables in a Storage Unit

With over 50,000 self-storage facilities across the United States and more than 180 million square feet of rentable storage space, storage units is a rising industry. Did you know that 1 in 11 U.S. households rented a self-storage unit? But what about storing valuables?

With the ability of securely storing belongings for any length of time, storage units make for an appealing option for stowing away personal items. However, while storage units offer many benefits, they also come with risks, especially when it comes to storing valuables. So, when deciding whether to keep precious belongings in a storage unit, customers should carefully weigh the pros and cons.

With proper precautions, storage units can be used successfully for storing valuables. But renters should also consider the downsides and take steps to safeguard their most treasured possessions. In this post, we will answer the questions: “How does self-storage work?”, “How can I make the most of my storage facility?”, and, finally, “How can I best protect my valuables in a storage facility?”

The Do’s

1. Do Insure Your Belongings

Most storage facilities only offer basic liability coverage that protects losses resulting from their own negligence, not from theft or damage by others. Because of this, it is wise for renters to invest in specialized insurance policies.

These should fully cover possessions kept in storage for loss, theft, water/flood damage, vandalism, and more. Extra insurance coverage may be needed to fully protect valuables like fine jewelry, art, antiques, and other precious items beyond what a standard policy offers.

2. Do Use a Reputable Facility

When selecting a self-storage facility, it is highly advisable to go with an established, reputable companies like all purpose storage. They offer clean and secure units with 24/7 video camera monitoring and personalized security codes to access gates and entry points.

Along with their security features, their strong emphasis on customer service. This is indicated by the numerous positive testimonials which showcases their dedication to safeguarding renters’ belongings. When selecting a facility, always consider high attributes such as these. Be wary of facilities that seem rundown or unsafe.

Inside of storage unit for storing valuables

3. Do Use Your Own Locks

While storage units come equipped with factory-installed locks, it is highly recommended that renters add their own heavy-duty padlocks, cylinders, or high-security locks for better control over access. This prevents facility employees or any previous renters from accessing the unit with copied keys.

Be sure to periodically change combinations. And replace locks as well for optimal security.

4. Do Audit Your Inventory

Renters should keep a detailed written and photographic inventory of everything stored in the unit. Include descriptions, photos, serial numbers, and other identifiers.

This inventory should then be updated every single time access to the unit is gained. Detailed records will be invaluable if anything goes missing or gets damaged. It allows renters to verify losses.

Couple making inventory report of their belongings before moving

5. Do Use Climate Control

If the budget allows, pay extra for a climate-controlled unit. This protects belongings from temperature fluctuations and excess humidity damage.

Uncontrolled conditions can negatively affect many items. This includes warping wood, rusting metal, fading fabric, ruining electronics, and more. Climate control helps preserve stored items in optimal condition.

6. Do Layer Your Storage

It is smart to place water-resistant barriers like heavy plastic tarps or sheeting on the unit floor. This guards against any water leaks or flooding. Then, stack items off the floor using pallets or shelving to further protect from water damage. This layered approach helps items stay dry.

Contents in a storage unit layered

The Don’ts 

1. Don’t Store Cash or Documents

If possible, avoid keeping cash, coins, checks, stock certificates, bonds, vehicle titles, wills, contracts, and other important original documents in a storage unit. These irreplaceable items are better kept in highly secured locations like bank safe deposit boxes instead. If lost or damaged, they can’t be easily replaced or reclaimed.

2. Don’t Overload Your Unit

Trying to cram too many items densely into a small storage unit makes it exceedingly difficult to take inventory. It will be hard to notice if anything goes missing. Overstuffed units are also breeding grounds for pest infestations, mildew growth, humidity damage, and more. Be sure to allow adequate space for air circulation and easy access.

Open storage unit

3. Don’t Leave Valuables Unattended

When moving valuables and important items into or out of the unit, never leave them unattended, even for a few minutes. It is highly advisable to always stay right with your possessions during loading/unloading. Or have a trusted person watch them for you. Unattended items are very easy targets for theft.

4. Don’t Store One-Of-A-Kind Items

Cherished items that are completely impossible to replace. Priceless family heirlooms, sentimental objects, and rare collectibles. They should be kept at home rather than risking them being stored offsite. Even with precautions, irreplaceable possessions are still vulnerable to loss when kept in storage long-term.

Jewelry

5. Don’t Try DIY Pest Control

Using home pest control sprays or traps may be tempting. But this risks contaminating your belongings with harsh chemicals. Always let the storage facility handle any pest issues using professional industrial-strength treatments.

6. Don’t Forget To Pay Rent

If rental payments lapse even briefly, the facility can seize and auction off the unit’s contents. Carefully track all due dates. Make 100% sure rent is consistently paid on time every month. Missed payments can result in irreplaceable loss.

Rent reminder on calendar

Conclusion

Renting a self-storage unit comes with advantages and disadvantages when it comes to storing prized belongings. Storage facilities provide secure, climate-controlled spaces. They can’t guarantee complete protection against all risks.

By selecting reputable companies, purchasing insurance, using high-quality locks, and taking other key precautions, customers can utilize storage units for storing valuables. However, certain irreplaceable or high-value items may be better kept at home rather than stored offsite. With smart practices, storage renters can take advantage of these convenient spaces. And all while protecting their most precious possessions.

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